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My new favorite political image is of Hillary Clinton sighing, in a speech at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. And I don’t mean sighing like you or I might when letting go of a long audible breath to express sadness or relief. But actually reading the word “sigh” off her teleprompter.

Now when people ask me if Clinton can blow this election, I have a new story to illustrate my case that, yes, she definitely can. She’s more wooden than a Charlie McCarthy doll.

Here’s another bit of information I like to share: As the Brexit campaign was getting underway last fall, the Remain camp was ahead of Leave, 51-37 percent. On the day that Britons were voting, the Dow closed up 230 points, and the British pound was near its year-to-date high, so confident was the feeling that the United Kingdom would never leave the European Union.

That’s something to keep in mind as Democrats celebrate early polls that show Clinton leading Donald Trump.


Trump is in better shape at this stage of the race than Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988, when former governor Michael Dukakis led by 15 points in the polls. Overconfident Dukakis aides spent that summer checking out real estate in Maryland and Virginia, only to see their candidate’s lead evaporate into an eight-point loss on Election Day.

Trump’s problems are well known. Voters don’t think he’s qualified. They don’t trust him with his finger on the button. He lacks the right temperament.

Since wrapping up the nomination, Trump’s campaign has been monstrously inept. Clinton is burying him in fund-raising, with $42 million cash on hand compared to Trump’s $1.3 million at the end of May. The campaign manager position remains vacant following the sacking of Corey Lewandowski. Trump jetted off to Scotland last week to visit one of his golf courses instead of spending time in key battleground states. That he survived an alleged assassination attempt has been a hostile media’s only positive coverage, and that was scarcely mentioned at all.

And yet, the good news for Republicans is that Clinton’s not getting any more popular. Her negatives have never been higher. Sift through recent polling and you find that voters generally believe Trump is a stronger leader, that he’s more honest and trustworthy, that he can handle ISIS better, and that he would be more effective at bringing change to Washington.


Clinton seems paralyzed by the populist forces that gave rise to Trump and Bernie Sanders. When Brexit passed, her instinct was to mock Trump. Trump responded with a speech attacking bad trade deals agreed to by “a leadership class that worships globalism over Americanism.”

This week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed Trump trailing Clinton, 46-41 percent, a drop of just two points since May. When third-party candidates are included, Trump and Clinton are essentially tied. As pollster Bill McInturff noted, “Donald Trump has had the worst month one can imagine, but Clinton’s negatives are so high the net impact on the ballot is almost invisible.”

Adding to Clinton’s woes is the newly released House report on Benghazi that found she failed, as secretary of state, to act on security risks ahead of the 2012 terror attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya. Still to come are the results of the FBI investigation into the mishandling of classified information related to her unsecure e-mail server.

Is it any wonder that Sanders still refuses to concede?

As unpopular as Trump is, the Democrats are on the verge of nominating someone nearly as unpopular, and that’s the only reason this campaign remains suspenseful at all.


Eric Fehrnstrom is a Republican political analyst and media strategist, and was a senior adviser to Governor Mitt Romney.